Living in Yellowknife

Winter Vehicle Tips – Part 1

Winter has finally struck Yellowknife and drastically it seems. It was not a shock that it did become -30, but more the fact it went from -5 to -30 within 36 hours. Yellowknife isn’t unlike any other city that has to deal with winter, but there are always some basic tips you should keep in mind when operating your vehicle continuously in the winter.

One of these things we should be aware of is vehicle use. Many of use vehicles for everyday things, such as going to work or getting the kids to soccer. Whatever your reason for doing it there are somethings you should know about operating a vehicle in this -30 weather.

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Check your coolant

Always read antifreeze labels closely to be sure you have the antifreeze-to-water mix correct. The antifreeze stops your radiator from cracking and freezing, and water will prevent overheating, even in winter temperatures.

Battery Maintenance

You’ll need 3-4 more times the starting power in colder weather. Have a draw and load test performed by a mechanic. Should your battery fail that test, then a recharge may prolong its’ life for an additional year. Barring that, investing in a new battery is equally wise.

Hoses and Belts

With the cold brittle days comes cracking and fraying of the belts and hoses that are used to operate our vehicles. It is best to replace them as soon as you notice either of these.

Washer Fluid

Having properly rated windshield washer fluid is ideal for winter condition. It prevents from freezing in its container and tubes and can also help to defrost windshields on those frosty mornings.

Winter Gear

Although Yellowknife is not a very large place and we can seldom go somewhere without seeing someone we know, it is still a good idea to be prepared. There is always the Ingraham Trail. Having basic items like a winter coat, mitts & hat, booster cables, rope, and matches is a good idea. Having survival gear is always something to have, things such as flares, sleeping bag, food, shovel, etc.

Plugging in

Plugging in your vehicle should mean powering two things:

  1. A battery blanket, which will warm up the battery so it can deliver maximum power when trying to power the starter.
  2. The Block Heater heats up your vehicles engine block which includes the oils inside, by doing this it helps the engine turn over when starting. When it comes to plugging in, it is said your vehicle only needs to be plugged in for about 2-3 hours to warm up to the appropriate temperature to start.

These are tips before you start your vehicle, in part two of this series will be some tips on operating your vehicle in the frigid cold that is a Yellowknife Winter.

If you have any tips or secrets of your own, please share with everyone.

Winter Driving Tips – Part 2

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About the author

Kyle Thomas

Kyle grew up in Yellowknife and is a local entrepreneur, writer, baker, and Yellowknife Advocate who is addicted to learning as much as he can about the community and sharing it with anyone who'll listen. In 2009 he developed YkOnline.ca. A website all about living, working and thriving in Yellowknife for residents, newcomers, and visitors.

3 Comments

  • Get an oil change. Either 0W30 or synthetic 5W30. It’s a lot more work for the engine to turn over if your oil is all waxy from the cold.

    Also, winter tires. With studs. “All season” tires aren’t and they’re worthless in the snow. Studded tires, on all four wheels, do wonders for your traction.

    Put a hatchet and lighter or matches in the car if you’re going on the highway, that way you can make fire if you’re in the ditch. And as always, “dress for a crash”. Bring the same clothes you’d wear if you were walking instead of driving.

  • Get an oil change. Either 0W30 or synthetic 5W30. It’s a lot more work for the engine to turn over if your oil is all waxy from the cold.

    Also, winter tires. With studs. “All season” tires aren’t and they’re worthless in the snow. Studded tires, on all four wheels, do wonders for your traction.

    Put a hatchet and lighter or matches in the car if you’re going on the highway, that way you can make fire if you’re in the ditch. And as always, “dress for a crash”. Bring the same clothes you’d wear if you were walking instead of driving.

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